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This area of the journal is dedicated to the book, “Healing Evangelism.”  The first post is actually the last one in the journal layout.  To read the book chronologically, scroll to the beginning.  The first post is dated September 22, 2007.


Summary and Suggestions

christ.jpgThe healing model of salvation encompasses the purpose of Christ. His mission found its fullest expression in saving, healing and delivering sinners from sin. In order to be like Him, our evangelistic thrust must take on the nature and the same driving force that empowered Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.   For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.   Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.   This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.   Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.   But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:16-21.

This perspective does not absolve us from the obligation to defend the gospel when it becomes necessary. Subversive agents continually work to undermine and corrupt God’s Word. This is the reason that many fundamentalists have had to assume a com­bative posture. Truth has been under modernism’s attack for many years. If it were not for ministers who loved the Bible and poured themsel­ves into its defense, the church would have taken huge losses.

Yet, we must avoid the opposite danger of getting locked into a com­bative mode and forgetting that love motivated Jesus, not hatred. A belligerent mood in presenting the gospel—-even in our evan­gelistic programs—-causes us to sow the wrong spirit into our converts. Many new converts would never know about the fights and bitter struggles of the past if those who participated in them would let the matters drop. It’s one thing to defend a household with a shotgun; a love affair with the weapon is a different story.

How can “Healing Evangelism” make a difference in you and in your church? While this book is not intended to be a outline for a comprehensive church program, here are some suggestions that will bring a new outlook on the task of reaching the lost.

Please note that these are not suggestions to get out the maps and set up canvas­sing campaigns or to shuffle paper and fill in the blanks. Plenty of books have been written to help a church in these areas. Rather, these suggestions address the hearts of prospective soulwinners. They are called suggestions, not direc­tives, because each soulwin­ner is different and each soul to be won is different. Neither are these the only suggestions that can be made. Look at them, put them in your own words, and come up with ones tailor made for you. Witnessing must be intensely personal as well as a church-wide activity.

1. Consider prayerfully and carefully the theme of this book.

This is a book for the attitudes, not for specific actions. It will not work if the basic attitude toward soulwinning is not affected. Submerge yourself in the ideas contained here. Get a deep understanding of your mission in terms of healing the souls of men.

2. Learn the testimonies of the saints around you.

Almost without exception, every person who has been saved in your church came in because he/she desperately needed help. Divorce, addiction, jail, bankruptcy, depression and other problems lay behind each conversion. Learn as many of these testimonies as you can. First, they will confirm what you have read here. Second, they will provide you with true stories to share with hurting people.

3. Refuse to engage in polemic or combative witnessing.

Every time you “set somebody straight,” you lose a potential convert. An honest discussion of the scripture with a sincere person is fine, but taking on someone who disagrees with you and defeating them in a debate accomplishes little for eternity. It is far better to be seen as the helper, the caregiver, and the one who con­tinually reaches out to the pain in people’s lives.

4. Learn to detect spiritual pain.

Smiles, light conversation, anger, rudeness and many other kinds of behavior helps people hide their pain. Cultivate a keen sensitivity to these signs and minister to hurting people.

5. Continually portray the gospel as a positive power.

Talk about Jesus as your friend. Talk about your deliverance from pain and heartache. Lift Jesus up as the greatest thing that has ever happened to you. Squelch all negative and complaining talk.

6. Discover new ways to put substance into your witness.

Meet basic needs of people whenever necessary. Food, clothing and shelter outweigh the words of a witness in the mind of the sinner.

7. Be a spiritual paramedic.

Prepare yourself to bear the burdens of others. Teach a home Bible study. Pick people up and bring them to church. Sit with people in church. After service, don’t run to your friends first and spend precious time talking with them to the exclusion of others. Make your way to the visitors, the sinners and the back­sliders.

8. Incorporate soulwinning into your daily and weekly routine.

Schedule in outreach. Plan to do it. Make it as much a part of your life as eating and sleeping. Always be on call. Go out of your way to talk to someone about God.

9. Re-think and re-word your witness to begin with the sinner, not yourself.

Witnessing is not about you. It is about the sinner and Jesus. Refer to yourself only when it becomes relevant to the process. Your opinion is worthless to the sinner until you have gained much credibility. Until then, keep the discussion on the person to whom you are witnessing, not yourself.

10. Structure your church’s ministry to meet the needs of hurting people.

Seeker’s services are deliberately designed for visitors. They will help to reach out to people without confusing them with issues that have meaning only for church members. Serial Bible studies that deal with problems that the individuals in today’s society are facing will give people a good, solid reason for coming to church. A wide range of ministries to reach people who have specific needs or are members of specific groups such as addicts, students or single parents will help to focus in on certain people.

The pulpit must be free to evangelize the lost in every service. This means that the church should never tire of hearing the fundamentals preached or taught. Church members must always be ready to minister to seekers. They also must be ready to teach home Bible studies. They must sacrificially give of their time to reach and win the lost.

Whenever the church sees herself as a caring, helping healing extension of Christ into this world, and whenever the world at large sees the same in us, we will effectively reach the lost.


The Therapeutic Value of Salvation

physical therapy.jpg The word “therapy” is a Greek word which means “healing.” It is a popular term today applied to nearly everything from relaxa­tion and exercise to exotic medical treatments. Therapy evokes positive feelings. In this final section of our book, let us firmly establish the therapeutic value in each phase of salvation. It is time that we see salvation as more than a set of hard com­mands to be obeyed, or as meaningless rituals that people have to go through before they get to the “good stuff.” Each requirement of the salvation process contributes profoundly to the inner healing that every soul desperately needs. Sinners must see that Jesus Christ is the way to peace and freedom from pain.

Each step towards God is divinely therapeutic. At the same time, we must keep in mind the principles of process, balance and equilibrium. By extolling the virtues of each step, we are not denying or excluding other steps. Each element plays a valuable part in reaching the ultimate goal of complete spiritual health.


The moment a person activates faith in Christ, healing virtue is released. A remarkable story took place in the ministry of Christ which demonstrates this fact.

“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. “She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ “Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment.” Matthew 9:20-22

While this was an instance of a physical healing, the power of faith itself is the same, whether it heals in a physical or a spiritual sense. Even the world has discovered this power, if only in a limited way. They speak of a “positive mental attitude,” autosuggestion, possibility thinking, visualization, the magic of believing, and so on. People can create powerful imagery through the exercise of faith. It can be so forceful that it can triumph over formidable odds and help them achieve goals that had never before been possible.

The simple connection between inner healing and faith should excite the soulwinner. Any person who suffers from the pain of sin can experience immediate help when he/she starts believing in Christ. This is not to say that embryonic faith constitutes full salvation. Salvation is still a process. But faith in Christ starts the process in motion! Consider these scriptures:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”   Hebrews 11:1,3,6.

People who begin in faith enter into the provincial realm of God’s promises. As long as they continue, they will enjoy total spiritual healing. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.

Specifically, faith brings healing to a number of sin’s injuries. Faith fills the vacuum created by doubt. Faith counteracts the negative influences of fear. Faith reverses one’s sense of worthless­ness and unimpor­tance. Faith helps build back self-esteem. Faith dispels the clouds of depression. Faith connects the heart and soul with God. Faith pleases God. However faith is considered, it is wholesome, positive and good.


Unfortunately, we usually cast repentance in a negative light. It does represent the bloody sacrifices at the brazen altar, Christ’s death on the cross, humiliation, self-denial and a harsh change from a sinful life to holiness. It often appears so intimidating that some people become discouraged just thinking about it. No one likes pain, and if people have the limited view that repentance only inflicts pain, they will balk at it.

We cannot deny that repentance means death to the flesh. Far more important, however, repentance delivers powerful thera­peutic effects. As we emphasize these positive results, we inspire courage and confidence in people to follow through with repen­tance.

  • Repentance aligns a person with the true gospel. “And repen­tance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47.
  • Repentance paves the way for the Holy Ghost baptism. “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
  • Repentance is a gift of God. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18
  • Repentance indicates God’s love and good intentions.
  • “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” Romans 2:4
  • Repentance leads to reconciliation with God. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” II Corinthians 7:10.

Again, let’s examine the medical model to gain insight into repentance. The first steps toward the cure of a disease or the healing of an injury involve pain. Dead tissue must be cut away, toxins must be drained from a wound, infections must be attacked by strong antidotes, broken bones must be reset, tourniquets must be applied, and shock therapy must be administered to restart vital signs. Whatever it takes to bring a diseased or injured person back to safe medical grounds must be done, often without regard to the pain that the procedure inflicts.

But the pain caused by the cure differs from that caused by the disease or injury. It is a pain filled with hope. It is a meaningful pain. It says, “Smile through the hurt, because you’re going to feel better after it’s over!” “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:6 If repentance symbolizes the crucifixion of Christ, it is good to remember that it is only a symbol. Christ absorbed the full impact of the cross, the penalty for our sins, so that we could be spared from eternal death. Without that supreme act of love, we would have to bear our own penalty. How much better it is to repent than to be crucified!

Repentance heals because it stops the infection of sin in one’s heart. Repentance heals because it releases a person from the hold of sin. Repentance heals because it alerts one to the root of spiritual pain. Repentance heals because it establishes a connec­tion with God himself. Repentance heals because it changes a person’s perspective of himself/herself. Repentance heals because it removes the oppressive weight of guilt and other emotional baggage that one has carried around for years. Repentance heals because it sets God free to operate in one’s life. Nothing other than complete repentance can bring about such deep and profound positive changes.

Soulwinners who lead people to repentance must not hurriedly push them through this process as though it has relatively little meaning. Repentance may precede other important spiritual steps, but it is itself bringing about vital changes that must not be lightly dismissed. Repentance needs to go deep. The soulwin­ner needs to under­stand and be able to explain to the repenting sinner what is happening. Also, a new convert ought to have time to savor the momen­tous event taking place in his/her heart. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10.

Water Baptism

In our discussion of spiritual healing, we referred to the importance of water baptism. Mysteriously, water baptism has almost acquired a stigma among some groups in their effort to stress salvation by faith alone. This imbalanced view amoun­ts to a denial of baptism in some cases. When water baptism is men­tioned, they experience a phobic reaction. In fact, the statement of Jesus “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15) has caused such embarrassment to them that they have blatantly rewritten it to say, “He that believeth and is (not) baptized shall be saved …” This tragic position has locked up the divine therapy that water baptism was meant to convey.

We must not place water baptism over against faith to deter­mine which one is responsible for salvation. Rather, let us unravel the purpose of water baptism and search out the therapeutic value that God intended through it.

Baptism conveys a cleansing experience. Baptism was practiced long before Christ or even John the Baptist. Since baptism is a Greek word, we don’t readily recognize it in the Old Testament. Usually, when we see references to “washings” they mean the same thing we understand as baptism in the New Testament. Old covenant believers viewed baptism as sig­nifying spiritual change. Whenever repentance swept across the people, baptism meant a revived relationship towards God. Washings also were the means for ceremonial purification.

New Testament believers should enter into baptism with strong overtones of cleansing and absolution. Corruption and impurity in the soul flee as a person is plunged beneath the baptismal waters. Afterwards, the baptized believer should glow from the experience. Baptism is intended to be a powerful healing agent for the soul.

Baptism is for the remission of sins. According to the scripture, baptism is intrinsic to the remission of sins.

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

“‘And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’” Acts 22:16

Baptism directly addresses sin in each deleterious aspect. First, it applies healing virtue to damaged emotions. Second, it erases the standing record of sin against the believer. Third, it absolves the soul of guilt. Fourth, it provides an eternal asylum from sin’s destruc­tive nature. Fifth, it breaks the connection between the sinner and the past.

We must be careful to mention that the water itself does not cleanse. Neither is there sin remitting power contained in the ceremony itself. Yet, when water baptism is administered in faith, it conveys something spiritual to the candidate.

Baptism joins the believer to Christ. Paul writes to the Galatians, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27. Getting into Christ happens through more than an exercise of faith. This scripture points out the role of baptism as the agent. When a believer is baptized, he/she enters into Christ. This provides access to every victory Jesus won for us. His death, burial and resurrection belong to the church. His victory over Satan, the flesh and the world belong to the church. His triumph over sin belongs to the church. Baptism positions us in an unbeatable place.

One of the most important psychological principles for mental and emotional health is the sense of belonging. Baptism places the believer into the family of God, into the body of Christ on earth (the church). Not only does Christ belong to the church, the church belongs to Christ. His victories are ours, our defeats are His. To those who have experienced rejection, hatred or discrimination, this truth heals deep wounds. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” I Corinthians 12:13.

Baptism also imparts healing to us through the principle of identification. We become identified with Christ in the waters of baptism. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:3-4. Baptism swallows up our marred, corrupt identity. We then become one with Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17.

Baptism invokes the saving name of Jesus Christ over the believer. A careful reading of the New Testament reveals that the name of Jesus Christ was used exclusively in baptism. Several of these instances have been quoted previously. Here are two more.

“When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, Because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 8:15-16.

“So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:3-5.

The use of the name of Jesus is highly significant, especially in terms of the healing of the soul. God always manifested His power on earth through the use of His name.

The name of Jesus confers salvation. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

The name of Jesus puts devils to flight. “She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her.” Acts 16:18.

The name of Jesus holds power over physical ailments. “Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. “Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” Acts 3:6-8.

Baptism places within our grasp the use of the name of Jesus. The very name which wielded so much power in the early church belongs to baptized believers. The therapeutic effects of such power are immeasurable.

Spirit Baptism

According to I Corinthians 15:1-4, the gospel consists of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we align these elements with the message of Acts 2:38, we discover that repen­tance answers to death, baptism answers to burial, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit answers to the resurrection. Since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead embodies the ultimate healing over death, then the entrance of the Spirit of God in the believer’s life activates the true dynamic of spiritual healing. Power, life, light, revelation, spiritual motivation and many other attributes proceed from the Spirit of God as He indwells the believer. The gift of the Holy Ghost reverses every negative movement and consequence that characterizes sin. For weakness, He gives strength; for darkness, He gives light; for death, He gives life; and for sorrow, He gives joy.

1. The Holy Spirit generates power for spiritual healing.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The world has created and developed many sciences and therapies to help people. Often, health care profes­sionals in physical or psychological fields can pinpoint disorders with great accuracy. They can trace the problems back to their beginnings, identify contributing factors along the way, and project new courses of action to solve them. Unfortunately, it is at this point of imple­mentation and sustained treatment that these programs falter. They cannot make anything happen. They have power to analyze, but no power to energize. They can offer suggestions and support, but the real results are left to the will power of the in­dividual.

Because of this, the gift of the Holy Ghost was conferred upon believers by God to empower them to do spiritual feats. He takes up where religion and reformation fail. He supplies the power to actually implement the changes that must take place in a person’s life, plus He gives them power to perform the will of God throughout their lives.

Jesus knew that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was critical to the success of the infant church, both as a corporate body and in the lives of individual disciples. His command to them to return to Jerusalem until they were endued with “power from on high” emphasizes this. He knew that even after training his disciples for over three years, they needed something more. Without the indwelling Spirit they would have a form of religion, but would lack the power to make it work.

2. The Holy Spirit produces life.

Without God’s Spirit in a person’s heart, spiritual death has the upper hand. The Apostle Paul reasons this out in his epistle to the Romans.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Romans 8:5-7.

Physically, when tissue dies, it loses all healing power. As we have seen, dead tissue must be cut away. If it is allowed to remain, it will rot and produce toxic chemicals that will kill the living cells surrounding it. Living cells, however, retain an active blood supply, and can work to bring about healing. Spiritually, unregenerated man is con­taminated with sin. Death, then, is present in the soul. Eventually, the entire person will suffer decline and death.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

Life—-irrepressible, vibrant, and eternal—-holds the greatest healing agent within itself. When a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he/she is indeed endued with eternal life. Jesus told the woman at the well,

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14.

Eternal life guarantees eternal victory over death. It is healing raised to the infinite power. And, since the Spirit is God’s abiding presence, He works un­ceasingly in a person’s heart and life to bring about positive change. Every day, the Spirit-filled person triumphs in ways both big and small. Death gets over-matched on every front; sin has no place to establish a foothold. As one person has said, “Some people expect to go to heaven at last; I go day by day!” Eternal life does not begin when the last natural breath is drawn. It begins the moment the Spirit of God enters, by faith, into a believ­er’s heart. The Spirit becomes a spring of living water that springs into eternal life.

3. The Holy Spirit connects one to the body of Christ.

The scriptures clearly teach that the work of the Holy Spirit is to join a person to the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit gives birth to our relationship with the Heavenly Father.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:15-17.

Also, the Holy Ghost baptism establishes common ground for the body of Christ, and puts the divine features of Christ into us.

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” I Corinthians 12:13.

Connectivity to the body carries with it all the benefits of the body. Paul elaborates on the functions of the body throughout the twelfth chapter of I Corinthians. Membership in the body facilitates the healing process.

4. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to believers.

Physically, healing depends upon an accurate examination of the disease or injury. If the attending physician overlooks a problem, or diagnoses it improperly, then any prescription for treatment will be off the mark. When the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, He also floods our minds and our consciences with light and truth. He provides this gift to us because, in our humanity, we are subject to error.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

Sometimes our mistakes result from ignorance. Sometimes they stem from willful disobedience. In other words, our flesh may rebel against the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In this regard, the Spirit provokes not only our awareness of the substan­tive problem, He also provokes our conscience to do the right thing.

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14

5. The Holy Spirit defends us against the enemy.

One of the marvels of the Holy Spirit is His role as our Paraclete, or our advocate. In this aspect, He takes over our defense against Satan the same as a defense attorney takes over the defense of a client against a plaintiff or a prosecutor. Indeed, Satan is called the accuser of the brethren, the devil, the tempter, the deceiver, the father of all liars, the Serpent and the Dragon. We need the Holy Ghost to continually fire back answers to the endless attacks the devil launches against us.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (Paraclete) to be with you forever—The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18

Our counselor never rests His case. He never tires of our defense. He never gets stumped or outflanked by the enemy. He provides a flawless defense forever.

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Hebrews 7:25-26.

In terms of our medical model, the Holy Spirit supplies the antidote to every invasion of our lives by enemy cells. Recalling our discussion of the four lines of defense, God’s Spirit immunizes us against the spiritual criminals that seek to re-introduce sin and death back into our hearts.

6. The Holy Spirit refreshes our spirituality.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7.

As we consider salvation in terms of its therapeutic value, we see it from a new perspective. We must not see it as a meaningless formality in which we pay nominal respect to tradition. We must not use it to condemn and criticize the unsaved, or to ridicule those who have not precisely fulfilled the requirements, or to stand on as a platform for spiritual pride and superiority. The therapeutic effects make us see salvation from the sinners’ standpoint. The sinner pleads for relief from pain, for a lighted pathway to get out of darkness, and for love and hope in an uncaring, desperate world.


Eight Steps to Spiritual Healing: (Seven and Eight)

obstinate.jpg Seventh Confession: I Will Follow Through With the Cure

Every step in this process is vital, but if one step could be classified as the most crucial, this one is it. Good intentions, promises and words either gain or lose credibility at this step. Often, savvy people quickly learn what they are expected to say, and say it to give the appearance of cooperation. Even sincere people who know they need to change their lives sail smoothly along until they reach this point. This step tests commit­ments, tries faith and examines the sincerity of a person’s intentions. Once a person knows what to do, it becomes his/her responsibility to do it. Only by following through with our intentions do we achieve full reconciliation with God.

Follow-through ensures that thoughts become realities, that ideas become facts. The records of hospitals and surgeons reveal the number of “no-shows,” or people who were scheduled for surgery but didn’t keep their appointments. Even more common is the number of people who fail to keep their doctor’s orders, who do not take regularly prescribed medicine or who “cheat” on diets and exercise programs. No one can claim ignorance of the cure at this point. The problem lies with the character of the one who is sick.

Spiritually, the lack of follow-through presents a major stumbling block to many people. James says,

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror “And, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25.

The success of any cure depends upon the actual, physical real-life follow-through. The cure does not exist in the laboratory vials or test tubes. It does not exist in the volumes of reports, test results or conferen­ces. It does not exist on the x-ray films or ultra-sound videos or computer printouts. All these are preliminary to the application of the cure. Nothing happens until the patient is wheeled into the surgical suite.

Unfortunately, many people who seek a cure for their spiritual pain bog down in the preliminary procedures. To them, the cure exists in their minds or on paper, but they do not follow through. All they end up with is an illusion, even though that illusion may be logically thought out and may have all the earmarks of a cure. It is not a cure until it is fully applied.

The greatest example of follow-through is our Lord Himself. With one word, He could have effected salvation for everyone. One wave of His hand could have destroyed Satan. One thought arcing across his mind could have washed sin from the world. Yet, He entered the world in the form of a man, and died an actual death on the cross for us. He did not turn His faith into a “mind cult.” He did not retain His Word on an intellectual, ethereal plane. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14.

In fact, John later combated a group of heretics called Gnostics who denied that Jesus came in the flesh. They placed such value on the mental plane that they believed the fleshly existence was too evil for Christ to enter. Of these views, John wrote, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that ac­knowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. I John 4:1-3.

The Apostle Paul also stressed the importance of physically involving our whole being in our relationship with God. “There­fore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be trans­formed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2.

Follow through with faith. Faith is a starting point. It is not an end in itself. Faith works as a vehicle to take a person to a spiritual destination. When one truly believes something, he/she will act upon those beliefs.

Follow through with repentance. Repentance reflects changes in the intellect, emotions and will. Intellectually, we must understand that sin is wrong and an offense against God. Emotion­ally, we must feel sorrow for sin. In our will, we must act to turn away from sin. If one continues in sin, true repentance has not taken place.

Follow through with water baptism. The normal New Testament pattern for salvation incorporated water baptism for each candidate. Both Peter and Paul stressed this step in their ministries.

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.” Acts 10:44-48.

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples And asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.  Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:1-5.

Follow through with the Spirit baptism. The new birth experience remains incomplete until birth comes by both water and Spirit. Jesus told His disciples to wait in the city of Jerusalem until they had received the Spirit, or “power from on high.” He knew that their mission in this world would fail without sufficient spiritual power. He insisted that they get this power.

“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. ‘For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 1:4-5

“‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1:8.

In strict obedience to the words of Jesus, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit. After ten days, their patience paid off.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4.

The Apostle Peter did not restrict this experience to this initial outpouring on the disciples in the upper room. He threw open the doors widely to all who would listen.

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” Acts 2:38-39.

Follow through with discipleship. Full, sacrificial disciple­ship stands at apex of living the saved life. Jesus said, “‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24.

Without discipleship, there can be no relationship. We must be “in Christ.” Our salvation rests in this relationship with Christ. A signed card on file in the church office, or a superficial prayer at the close of an evangelistic service is no more a relationship with Christ than a marriage certificate is a marriage. Discipleship demands follow-through.

Eighth Confession: I Will Live In Spiritual Health

Two major factors shape an individual’s health. One can be controlled; the other cannot. The factor which defies control is com­prised of elements such as genetic diseases, congenital allergies and conditions, unknown environmental factors, accidents and unavoid­able injuries. The other factor lies in the realm of the individual’s control. Each person decides what to eat, what to drink, whether or not to smoke, whether or not to engage in hazardous occupations or activities, and makes other choices that impinge upon his/her health.

Many people who seem to be in the pink of health have collapsed and died because of an internal condition they knew nothing about. Others who were obviously healthy have destroyed their own lives as a result of either foolish or calculated risks. One may not be able to avoid traffic accidents in normal, responsible driving, but choosing to drag race or to drive recklessly is another matter. A person may not be responsible for a congenital heart defect, but should he/she smoke, drink liquor, use narcotics, overdose on sugar and sodium, and eat fatty foods, then the blame for poor health or premature death cannot be assigned to fate or ignorance.

This comparison leads us to the final confession, “I will live in spiritual health.” Remembering that spiritual healing lies in process, balance and equilibrium, we can readily see the importance of responsible living. While a person cannot control every threat to his/her health, those forces which can be controlled, ought to be. Each person must accept some responsibility for life.

This need for spiritually responsible living does not negate the grace of God in our lives any more than a healthy diet takes the place of a good set of genes. God has abundantly taken care of His part by granting us a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27. This profound spiritual change puts us in a new realm. No force has power over us any more to destroy us.

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39.

Our spiritual genes are programmed for success. God has carefully positioned us so we may take full advantage of His grace, power and wisdom. But does this act alone absolve us from all responsibility? Let our medical model answer that question. Suppose a person’s doctor says, “You have a clean bill of health. Everything checks out in perfect order. I don’t see any reason why you should have any restrictions on your life whatsoever.” Does this report mean that this same person should abandon a healthy lifestyle on the premise of the doctor’s statement? Of course not. Let’s see why.

Paul’s statement in Romans 8:31-39 reflects the power and handiwork of God. In it, the Apostle simply affirms God’s intentions for believers, and His divine ability to back up every word of His promises. There is no intent to give us license to break every principle of spiritual health. He established this truth in an earlier chapter.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:1-4.

The secret of sustained spiritual health is clear. After a person is saved, he/she must begin to live in a spiritually healthy way. Unless this happens, every advantage of the new birth can be squandered away.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Colossians 1:21-23.

Paul recognized the danger of falling. To the Corinthians, he wrote,

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  I Corinthians 9:25-27.

Others had not practiced such a disciplined and responsible life. Their lives ended in disaster. Paul exhorts Timothy to avoid their same fate.

“Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.  Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”  I Timothy 1:18-20.

Physical health is not a goal to be reached and then forgot­ten. It is not a test of one’s ability to hit a target. Health is a state of being, a condition to be maintained in the face of adversity and challenge. Spiritual health follows the same pattern. It is bound up in an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. This final step makes all the other steps worthwhile. The true objective of Christ in salvation is not only to touch the lives of believers, but also to be involved with them, commune with them and walk with them on a daily basis. Only this fulfills the purpose of redemption.


Eight Steps to Spiritual Healing: (Five and Six)

forrestrunningtojonathan.jpg Fifth Confession: I Can Be Cured

Once a person recognizes that the cure for sin rests in Jesus Christ, and in no one or nothing else, the next step suggests itself. It is time to personalize salvation. This step has a counterpart in the realm of physical healing when a diseased person understands that a cure exists, but it looks too complicated, too expensive, too remote or too risky to undertake. Often, the psychological barriers loom as formidable to people as do the physical or medical procedures. Some people cannot muster the ability to identify with wellness or health. They have been sick for so long, or their problem is so great that they talk themselves out of the cure. They know that others have suc­ceeded, but they cannot, or will not, see themselves in that role.

Good things start to happen the moment a sinner activates faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It compares to the seed which drops into fertile, moist ground. The life in the seed breaks forth, and sends tiny roots into the soil around it. Soon, a tender stem pokes through the ground to be greeted by the warm sun and cool rain. Likewise, faith generates a chain of healing, curative effects. There are many critical events that must follow this new beginning, but nothing happens until one personally proclaims, “I can be cured!”

Consider the following reasons why many people never take this step from recognition to receptivity. These ideas will not allow them to cross the bridge from recognizing that a cure exists to receiving that cure for themselves.

  • “God could never love me.”
  • “I am worthless.”
  • “My sins are too great.”
  • “I will just fail again, like everything else I’ve tried.”
  • “I’ve tried praying before. It doesn’t work for me.”
  • “I have offended God. He won’t listen to me.”

Satan delights in deceiving people with these falsehoods. None of them stand up, however, in the light of the Word of God.

God loves each individual person. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Each person is worth the whole world. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

No sin is too great for God to forgive. “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Romans 5:10

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slander­ers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” I Corinthians 6:9-11

Each person must trust in God who never fails. “No temp­tation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I Corinthians 10:13

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25

When a person prays in faith, believing, God will hear. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”   Luke 18:9-14

God will not hold men in judgment for offending Him when they turn toward Him in meekness and ask to be saved. “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received recon­ciliation.” Romans 5:10-11.

Sixth Confession: I Will Accept the Cure

The story of Naaman sheds much light on the sixth step, “I will accept the cure.” Naaman was a commander for the king of Syria. He was great in every regard, except he had leprosy. One day, one of his servant maidens, a Hebrew, told him of the prophet Elisha in Samaria who could heal him of his leprosy. Naaman journeyed to Elisha’s door bearing many precious gifts, and asked for healing. Elisha, in Naaman’s eyes, treated him coarsely. Without bothering to come to the door, Elisha sent word out to Naaman to go and wash himself in the Jordan River.

“Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’ “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. “‘Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’” So he turned and went off in a rage.”   II Kings 5:10-12.

You can see how Naaman had taken each of the steps to this point. He confessed his sickness; he knew nothing else would work; he knew his disease was terminal; he understood that there was a cure; and he personally confessed that this cure could be his. Now, a huge obstacle rose in front of him. He disdained the procedure by which he was to appropriate the cure. He saw dipping in the Jordan River degrading and insulting.

In his rage, Naaman acted irrationally. He began to compare the rivers back home to the Jordan, as though the healing virtue was in the water itself. He evidently felt that leprosy was better than the preposterous cure Elisha proposed, and was willing to go home a leper with the illusion of honor than to go home cured with real honor. His servants saw through his thinly disguised pride.

“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” II Kings 5:13

Because of pride and anger, Naaman nearly missed his only chance for healing. He had done everything but accept the actual cure that was offered to him. Regeneration can only begin when the sinner embraces the full cure. The full cure begins in the heart and mind. It must find expression from a person’s mouth.

“(But the righteousness that is by faith says): “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  Romans 10:6-10.

So what did Naaman do? He swallowed his pride and simply did what the prophet told him to do. This step is not be confused with the doctrine of “earning salvation”, or getting saved by works. Nothing Naaman did glorified him or brought accolades to him for mighty feats. He simply obeyed the voice of the prophet.

“So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” II Kings 5:14.

What does Jesus Christ require for salvation today? Naa­man’s experience serves as a model for the proper attitude, but his cure applied only to leprosy. How can we, in our generation, be cleansed from our sin? Jesus had some forceful words that addressed this matter in the New Testament.

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’”  In reply Jesus declared, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’” ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’” Nicodemus asked. “‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’” Jesus answered, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’”   John 3:1-5

Many stop short of this step. They merely stand on the sidelines of the gospel and nod affirmatively. They define faith as only a condition of one’s heart that, when God observes it, He perfunctorily grants salvation. True belief, however, leads to action. Faith and obedience go hand in hand. A person can measure faith by the extent of obedience to the Word of God in his/her life. The faith that saves is the faith that obeys.

“Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revela­tion But now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him.” Romans 16:25-26

When Jesus left this earth, he gave the task of reaching the world and preaching the gospel to His church. He personally selected the group of people who would begin to carry out this gigantic mission. Their inaugural service took place on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on them. This created a great spectacle and attracted a crowd at an opportune time. Jerusalem was filled with Jewish celebrants of the Feast of Pentecost.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4.

When the crowd came running, Peter, the spokesman, stood up and began to preach about Jesus Christ. His stinging words cut deep into the hearts of those who had recently crucified Christ.

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37

Again, Peter seized the moment. His words fulfilled the earlier instructions of Christ to Nicodemus. He explained what it meant to be born of the water and spirit.

“Peter replied, “‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ‘The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:38-41.

This cure was shocking to these Jews. Peter demanded that they admit their crime against Christ and, instead of rejecting Him, he ordered them to be baptized in His name! These instructions were far more insulting and bitter to them than Elisha’s command to Naaman. To accept Christ openly and publicly, meant to affirm all that Christ did and taught. They had vehemently opposed these miracles and doctrines for over three years. Yet, this was their only means to salvation.

In medical practice, a similar scenario unfolds. The diagnos­tic physician lays out a critical situation to a patient. He/she then proceeds to outline several routes to a cure. In especially bad cases, the doctor may recommend radical surgery, amputation or an organ transplant. In oncology, chemotherapy and radiation are often prescribed. With each measure, the risks become greater and the danger of negative side effects increases. Patients often get so frightened at the cure that they elect to do nothing. The disease seems better than the remedy.

At this juncture, many patients go out to seek a second or third opinion. Before submitting to a radical cure, they run the problem by other doctors, hoping that one of them will have more pleasant news for them. The range of answers they receive is limited only by the number of doctors they see. They often become confused by the differing opinions of several medical doctors. Moreover, many people add to their confusion by talking to those in the “twilight zone” of medicine—-adherents of acupuncture, herbal therapies, hypnosis and psychic practitioners.

Spiritually, the victim of sin must embrace the full, scriptural cure for sin. Salvation may appear radical, but it is the only viable remedy. To search for a second opinion only wastes time. Many self-styled healers proclaim every kind of cure imaginable. In the end, however, the serious person who wants to be saved treks back to the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel.


Eight Steps to Spiritual Healing: (Three and Four)

admissions graphic 2.gifThird Confession: “My Sickness Is Terminal.”

Once a sinner confesses that nothing works, he/she must come to terms with sin’s prognosis. Sin is not trivial. It is deadly. A vital sense of urgency must grip the sinner. The cure transcends matters of a slight improvement, a better quality of life, a preferred choice, or even a superior lifestyle. Salvation goes beyond merely suppressing pain. Eternal survival weighs in the balance.

When a doctor diagnoses a terminal illness in a person, it necessitates a sober conference. The patient must hear the bad news. “I’m sorry to tell you this, John, but the tests came back positive. You have a malignancy.”


“I’m afraid so.”

“What am I going to have to do, Doctor?”

“Well, we’re not sure. Some people have successfully undergone surgery. Others have not. Some survive the surgery itself, but the surgeon didn’t get all the cancer.”

“What are my chances?”

“Fair. If we can get it all, if you are up to the surgery, if you can stand the chemo or radiation, and if you will change your lifestyle, then we may be able to give you some extra time.”

“I don’t know. I hate surgery. What kind of time are we talking about if I don’t do anything?”

“Three to six months. This particular type of cancer spreads fast. Untreated, nothing stands in its way. I recommend that you at least do something to slow it down.”

Nothing jolts a person into reality faster than this kind of news. Several important truths become clear. First, the disease is fatal. Second, the cure involves radical measures. Third, the clock is ticking. Whatever decision is made, it must be made soon. Fourth, the total cure means a change of lifestyle. Last, there are no alternatives. The patient either accepts the cure, or resigns his/her life to the finality of death.

Let’s place this in a spiritual setting. While it is important to present the gospel in a positive light, the unsaved person must, nonetheless, understand that the issues of eternal life and death are at stake. Unfortunately, many people and groups have trivialized the gospel in recent times. They have ignored its gravity, and have focused exclusively on its aspects of love, harmony and experiential religion. By failing to mention the enormity of the decision, these new-styled clerics truncate the cure, and offer far less than the New Testament requires for salvation.

Eternal death awaits the unsaved. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The gospel must not be viewed as simply another alternative. Without the shed blood of Jesus Christ, accepted by faith and applied through obedience to His word, salvation remains an impossibility. This may come across to sinners as stark, even shocking doctrine. Their world teems with choices, options, and alternatives. They’ve seen few black and white issues, mostly just shades of gray. Nevertheless, they must undergo an adjustment to God’s reality. Sin is terminal. If they “philosophize” about it, they only blunt its impact on their lives. If they deny it, they only lose time. If they treat it nonchalantly, they create a false sense of security. Sooner or later, they must confront it.

“‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” Isaiah 1:18

Fourth Confession: There Is A Cure

When a person receives the news that he/she has contracted a disease, the next question is usually, “Is it treatable?” Unfor­tunately, the doctor sometimes says “No. To date, we know of nothing to cure your disease.” God, of course, can create His own cure, and we thank Him for His many miracles over disease and even death. Medical science, however, must rely on slow, method­ical research. In many cases, it is years away from a cure.

The good news is that a cure exists to the most deadly of all diseases, sin. Although this may seem very basic, it is important to bring a person to this level, because this requires the first step toward salvation, the step of faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. Faith says, “Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world.”

The sinner must see that Jesus Christ is his/her only way to salvation. The following statements about the saving work of Christ ought to come alive in each person’s mind and heart.

1. Sin demanded that a ransom be paid for man’s salvation.

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  Who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” I Timothy 2:5-6.

2. The ransom for man’s salvation was the price of blood.

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no for­giveness.” Hebrews 9:22

“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect taber­nacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Hebrews 9:11-14

3. No one else but Christ was worthy for the sacrifice.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,  But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. I Peter 1:18-19

4. Jesus Christ was God who manifested himself in the flesh in order to save fallen man.

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” II Corinthians 5:19

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, And you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:9-10

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

5. Jesus Christ has restored man’s relationship with God.

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circum­cision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regula­tions. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,  And in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” Ephes­ians 2:12-16

6. Christ alone is the way to salvation.

“‘I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  ‘The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.’   Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.  Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.’” John 10:1-2, 6-7.